Genesis kicked off their reunion tour Monday night with an incredible show at Birmingham, England’s Utilita Arena. The set contained many of their biggest hits, including “Invisible Touch,” “Turn It On Again,” “I Can’t Dance,” and “Throwing It All Away” but also made room for deeper cuts like an extended instrumental passage from 1973 tune “The Cinema Show,” the 1991 fan favorite “Fading Lights,” and a medley of the Selling England by the Pound classics “Firth of Fifth” and “I Know What I Like (in Your Wardrobe).”
Perhaps the most surprising moment came midway through the night when they broke out “Duchess” from 1980’s Duke. The song, which was their first track to utilize a drum machine, tells the story of a singer named Duchess who once played to enormous audiences, but falls on hard times in her later years.
“Time went by,” Collins sings. “It wasn’t so easy now, all uphill, and not feeling so strong/Yes, times were hard/ Too much thinking ’bout the future and what people might want.”
Collins is in a very different situation than Duchess since he remains a huge draw on the road with both his solo shows and with Genesis, but he’s faced some significant health problems and personal issues during the past few years, making it hard not to draw some comparisons between their situations. These parallels made the ending of the song (“She dreamed of the times when she sang her songs/And everybody cried for more”) particularly intense on opening night.
Genesis last played “Duchess” on the 1981 Abacab tour. Their shows at the Savoy Theatre in New York City and Long Island, New York, in November 1981 were filmed for the Three Sides Live movie. Check out footage of “Duchess” from the film right here.
The lineup of Genesis on the road right now has Collins’ son Nicholas behind the drum kit instead of longtime touring drummer Chester Thompson, but is otherwise identical to the one seen in Three Sides Live. The band is coming to America in November and December for a run of 21 East Coast arena shows. The tour wraps December 15th at TD Garden in Boston, and Collins has suggested that Genesis may end forever at that point.
That would be a huge disappointment for fans on mainland Europe, Australia, South America, Asia, and the West Coast of America who will miss out on the last chance to see them. To quote “Duchess,” they are “crying for more.” Let’s hope Collins changes his mind and decides to keep the show on the road throughout 2022.